"When a young tree is injured it grows around that injury. As the tree continues to develop, the wound becomes relatively small in proportion to the size of the tree. Gnarls, burls and misshapen limbs speak of injuries and obstacles encountered through time and overcome. The way a tree grows around its past contributes to its exquisite individuality, character, and beauty.”
Peter A. Levine, “Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma
I’m a native Texan, born and raised. I am a Licensed Psychologist and have been licensed in Texas since 2003 and am trained and experienced in a broad range of evidence-based therapies. I earned my undergraduate degree in psychology from Texas A&M University and then my Master’s degree in psychology from Wake Forest University.
I completed my Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University where I had the wonderful opportunity to study under the direction of Dr. James P. McCullough, a well-known expert in the field of chronic depression who developed an evidence-based therapy model (Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy; CBASP) for this debilitating condition. I completed my internship at the Medical College of Georgia / VA Medical Center Consortium in Augusta, Georgia and then sought additional training via a three year post-doctoral fellowship at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy of Nicotine Dependence with Comorbid Depression.
Since my fellowship, I have held full or part-time positions as a Behavioral Research Psychologist at MDACC, Co-Director of the University of Houston’s Psychology Research and Services Center, and a provider of psychological services to residents of a skilled nursing facility. Since 2009, I have been employed at the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center in Houston, providing psychological services in the Compensation and Pension, Trauma Recovery, and General Mental Health Care programs. Currently, I hold a half-time position in the PTSD clinic, with emphasis on the provision of services to Veterans struggling with acute trauma/stress reactions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD, traumatic grief, and anger issues. I am also a VHA certified provider of both Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure for PTSD (PE), and I am certified by the EMDR International Association as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) therapist. I have also been accepted by the EMDR International Association as a Consultant-in-Training which will allow me to move to the next level of expertise in providing EMDR (Approved Consultant status) and to provide consultation to other therapists who wish to learn EMDR.
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Affiliations with Veteran Organizations:
I have found working with Veterans at the Houston VA incredibly rewarding, and so I have pursued opportunities to work with this important population in my private practice work. In addition to being a Tricare-approved provider, I have been a Lone Survivor Foundation consultant, periodically assisting at Veteran retreats down at Bolivar peninsula. In addition, I became a Headstrong Project Clinical Partner in 2018, providing individual therapy to Veterans receiving assistance within this nonprofit organization whose mission it is to provide treatment for post 9/11 Veterans suffering from the hidden wounds of war.
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Texas A&M University, 1994
Master of Arts in Psychology, Wake Forest University, 1996
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2002
Other Certifications & License
Licensed Psychologist, Texas (#32216), 2003
Prolonged Exposure for PTSD Provider, Veterans Health Admin. certification, 2015
International Association of Trauma Professionals, 2016
Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD Provider, Veterans Health Admin. certification, 2012
Equine Assisted Growth and Learning (EAGALA) Certification, 2013-2015
CBT for Insomnia trained provider – Center for Deployment Psychology, 2019
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, 2009 - current
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Houston, 2007-2008
Research and Teaching:
There’s not enough room to cover all this here. If you’re interested in information on my background in these areas, including grants/awards received, publications, presentations, supervisory experience, and teaching, feel free to ask me for a list. In short, I haven't focused my efforts on research since my time at MDACC, although I did more recently serve as a study therapist in a multi-site study comparing PE to CPT in the treatment of Veterans with PTSD. In addition, I intermittently supervise psychology interns/residents and give presentations at the Houston VA or in the community as part of my work within the PTSD Clinical Team.
American Psychological Association (APA)
EMDR International Association
Texas Psychological Association (TPA)
International Association of Trauma Professionals - 2015
On a more personal note...
I am married to a great guy who also just happens to be my best friend, and I am mother to boy/girl twins who are growing up fast and moving into the pre-teen stage of life. To top it off, my family and I rescue elderly, abused, neglected, and/or hospice-case large dogs. It is tough as some of my babies have only a few months to live when they get to us, but it's totally worth it as they get a great end-of-life experience and all the love they can tolerate. Currently, we have two pits and one Anatolian shepherd mix. So, while it’s not always the calmest of times around my house, it’s certainly never boring. In addition to spending time with my family, I enjoy yoga, hiking, running, reading, watching movies, learning about various EMDR techniques, and simply hanging out with my dogs.
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